Blogs | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en Obamacare Premiums Will Increase About 25% This Year <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><a href="" target="_blank">The federal government</a> announced today that Obamacare premiums are set to rise 22 percent next year. <a href="" target="_blank">Charles Gaba</a> estimates that premiums will go up 25 percent. Those numbers are close enough that there's probably no need to dive into the weeds to see if there are any gotchas. Premiums really are going up an average of about 25 percent next year. Here are five things to keep in mind:</p> <ol><li>Yikes. That's a big number.</li> <li>The biggest increase is 145 percent in Phoenix. I have no idea why. However, you can be sure that Donald Trump and others will be bleating about Obamacare premiums going up "as much as 145 percent." (For the record, the lowest increase is -12 percent in Indianapolis. See Table 13 <a href="" target="_blank">here</a> for a full list.)</li> <li>The vast majority of people on Obamacare have incomes under 400 percent of the poverty level. All of them are shielded from ever paying more than a cap set by income level. At the lowest income level, they never have to pay more than 3 percent of their income. At the highest income level (about $100,000 for a family of four) they never have to pay more than 9 percent of their income.<sup>1</sup> This means that in practice, the amount people <em>pay</em> will rise considerably less than 25 percent.<sup>2</sup></li> <li>The 25 percent number assumes that you keep the same policy that you have in 2016. You can do better if you shop around. For example, HHS estimates that if everyone switched to the lowest-price plan in their metal level (bronze, silver, etc.), premiums would go <em>down</em> an average of 20 percent. Combined with <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_cbo_obamacare_premiums_october_2016.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">point #3, this means that nearly all individuals will be able to avoid huge increases if they're really in dire financial straits.</li> <li>As painful as this is, all that's happening is that after being underpriced for years, Obamacare premiums are finally catching up to the original estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. <a href="" target="_blank">A couple of months ago</a> I suggested that premiums still had another 25 percent increase ahead, and this would likely be spread out over a couple of years. I was right about the size of the hike, but it's happening in one year instead of two. The good news is that these prices hikes truly should help to stabilize the market and prevent more insurers from abandoning Obamacare. It might even prod a few new ones to enter the market.</li> </ol><p>So that's that. Basically, this increase is painful, but was probably inevitable as insurers got more experience with the market. Subsidies and caps should shield a lot of people from the full pain of the increases, and the higher premium levels should be good for the long-term health of Obamacare. As for Republicans who plan to yell and scream about this, I have a deal for them: anyone who's serious about reducing the suffering of folks who will be hurt by higher premiums has my full support for boosting subsidy levels.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>The precise numbers for 2017 are 3.06 percent and 9.69 percent.</p> <p><sup>2</sup>There are other subsidies too that shield people from premium hikes. In particular, Andrew Sprung will be mad at me if I don't mention <a href="" target="_blank">Cost Sharing Reductions,</a> which many people can use to buy silver plans at reasonable prices.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 25 Oct 2016 01:27:48 +0000 Kevin Drum 317376 at In a Couple of Weeks, Merrick Garland Will Discover His Fate <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland has been waiting patiently for months to discover his fate. Here is Rick Hasen's prediction <a href="" target="_blank">via Twitter:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Here's why I think @EdWhelanEPPC is wrong and Judge Garland gets confirmed in lame duck IF Democrats take Senate. First, Obama will be loyal to Garland and not withdraw nomination and Garland won't withdraw unless Clinton asks. Clinton won't ask despite <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_merrick_garland.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">pressure from the left to withdraw Garland for younger and more liberal candidate.</p> <p>Getting Garland out of way during lame duck clears her first 100-day agenda without a nasty Supreme Court fight that eats other things. RBG has signaled she and/or Breyer will leave the court while Dems still control Senate (before 2017). This means she can get 1 or 2 more liberal Justices on Court and/or make it a big issue in the midterms, in the hopes of turning about Dem turnout problem in the midterms. With Garland done in [lame duck], Clinton has very good chance of 1, and some chance of 2, liberal appts before 2018 elections.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is kinda sorta my take too. I agree that Obama will be loyal to Garland. That's all part of the implicit bargain when he nominated him. And I agree that Hillary Clinton will go along with that, partly for the reason Hasen outlines, and partly because it demonstrates a deeper loyalty: not just from Obama, but from Team Obama, which Hillary is part of. I think <em>that</em> was part of the implicit bargain too.</p> <p>But will Republicans go along and confirm him? On the one hand, they've said they won't, and their base (i.e., talk radio) will go ballistic if they renege on that promise. On the other hand, in the real world (i.e., not talk radio) they know perfectly well that Garland is the best they're going to get. If they hold out, Clinton will nominate someone more liberal, and Harry Reid has already promised that if they go into endless obstruction mode, Democrats will <a href="" target="_blank">nuke the filibuster</a> and confirm Clinton's choice.</p> <p>So here's where this leaves them. If they break their promise, they'll be tarred as feeble RINOs who pretend to be conservative but crumble at the first sign of Democratic opposition. If they keep their promise, they' tarred as feeble RINOs who pretend to be conservative but always have some lame excuse for losing. <em>We don't control every branch of government. What could we do?</em> What a bunch of whiners.</p> <p>In other words, talk radio is going to scorch them no matter what happens. This means that if they're smart, they'll go ahead and confirm Garland. It's their least bad option.</p> <p>That doesn't mean it will happen. Fear of the base is powerful in the Republican Party. Still, the GOP leadership has some decisions to make, and how they're going to handle the tea party faction is one of their most important ones. There's not much question that they have to take them on sometime. The only question is whether November 9 will be the time.</p> <p><strong>NOTE:</strong> If Republicans hold onto the Senate, all bets are off. They'll still have some leverage in the next Congress, and might reasonably think they can negotiate a better candidate with Hillary Clinton.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 24 Oct 2016 21:40:30 +0000 Kevin Drum 317366 at Is Donald Trump a Fake Republican? Or the Ultimate Republican? <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>With 15 days left until a possible nationwide rout of the Republican Party, <em>National Review</em> editor Rich Lowry <a href="" target="_blank">complains about Democratic hypocrisy:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>As Jonah pointed out in a G-File a week or two ago, the Democrats started out by arguing that Donald Trump was such an outlandish figure that he couldn&rsquo;t even truly be considered a Republican; now, with Election Day just two weeks away and Trump performing badly, <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_15_days.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">they are seeking to use him to sink as many Republicans up and down the ballot as possible.</p> </blockquote> <p>Maybe we tune into different liberals, but that's sure not how <em>I</em> remember it. My recollection is that it was <em>conservatives</em> who argued that Trump wasn't a real conservative. Lowry, for example, <a href="" target="_blank">called Trump</a> a "philosophically unmoored political opportunist" and a "menace to American conservatism." Liberals, conversely, spent a vast amount of ink arguing that Trump was, in fact, the apotheosis of everything conservatives had been doing for the past 30 or 40 years. They had supported extremist talk show hosts. They had tolerated endless appeals to racist sentiment. They had impeached a Democratic president. They had adopted a strategy of pure obstruction after losing in a landslide to Barack Obama. They had promoted a bubble of cocky ignorance by convincing their followers that the mainstream media was entirely untrustworthy. They had indulged an endless series of bizarre conspiracy theories and pseudo-scandals for purely political benefits.</p> <p>After all that, liberals argued, conservatives could hardly act shocked when Republican primary voters were attracted to a guy like Donald Trump. They had been poking this particular tiger for years, and now that it was biting back they had no idea how to stop it. That's how I remember things, anyway. Anyone disagree?</p> <p>And as long as we're on political topics, I noticed this morning that Sam Wang's Senate forecast, which has been sneaking upward for the past week, has finally reached the point where he's now predicting <a href="" target="_blank">Democrats will likely win control of the Senate 51-49.</a> The overall Democratic probability of Democratic control is 83 percent. As near as anyone can tell, Donald Trump is now actively working toward this end, hoping that an epic Republican loss across the board will make his personal loss less of an insult. Or something. Nice work, conservatives!</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 24 Oct 2016 18:10:29 +0000 Kevin Drum 317321 at Maybe We Can Turn Trump Lemons Into Twitter Lemonade <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>A couple of days ago Ariana Lenarsky was on a flight from Austin to Los Angeles. As she was walking down the aisle of the airplane, a guy reached out and stroked her calf. She reported this to the flight attendants, who nodded knowingly because other women had already complained about the guy. <a href="" target="_blank">After a bit of back and forth</a>, the captain radioed ahead and police met the plane when it landed. No one wanted to press charges because it would have been more trouble than it was worth, which led to this:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Police said they would "give him a talking to"&amp; "it's not the crime of the century." True! I'm going to tweet his picture now since it's nbd</p> &mdash; Ariana Lenarsky (@aardvarsk) <a href="">October 23, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">You can't grab women on a plane, guy. You can't do it. Hope you get the help you need. <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Ariana Lenarsky (@aardvarsk) <a href="">October 23, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></blockquote> </blockquote> <p>Generally speaking, I'm not a fan of calling out ordinary schmoes on big media platforms, but wouldn't it be nice if there was a silver lining to the odious and repugnant Trump campaign? Maybe this could be it: If someone gropes you, haul out your phone, take his picture, and post it on your social media platform of choice. We'd need a hashtag for this. Maybe if it catches on, men will finally start paying a big enough social penalty for this crap that they'll stop doing it.</p> <p>OK, OK, that won't happen. But maybe they'll do less of it. Baby steps.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 24 Oct 2016 17:37:28 +0000 Kevin Drum 317316 at Oversampling Is the Latest Hotness in Trumpland <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Last night I went out to dinner and briefly checked in on things when I got back. While I was busy with some other stuff, I had this idle Twitter conversation:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">I thought we fully litigated oversampling in the 90s</p> &mdash; Clara Jeffery (@ClaraJeffery) <a href="">October 24, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="">@ClaraJeffery</a> Nothing is ever fully litigated. It's always fucking groundhog day.</p> &mdash; digby (@digby56) <a href="">October 24, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="">@digby56</a> <a href="">@ClaraJeffery</a> They all know perfectly well what oversampling is. They're just trolling.</p> &mdash; Kevin Drum (@kdrum) <a href="">October 24, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></blockquote> </blockquote> <p>I had been out of touch with the news for maybe <em>six or seven hours</em>, nothing more. And yet I was completely out of the loop on the latest campaign idiocy. I had no idea what this was about, which explains my foolishly casual tweet. <a href="" target="_blank">This morning I found out:</a></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_zero_hedge_oversample.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 15px 0px 15px 20px;"></p> <p>This post has currently been read by 1.3 million people, and is ricocheting through the Trumposphere at light speed. Apparently oversampling is this year's deskewing.</p> <p>In case you care, oversampling is a normal and longtime practice for folks who are running presidential campaigns&mdash;which is what John Podesta was doing. If you survey, say, a thousand people, you're likely to get a sample of only 130 African-Americans. This means that if you happen to be particularly interested in African-American voters, you need to deliberately oversample them in order to get a statistically reliable pool of respondents. The same is true for any smallish group of people. If, for some reason, you want to target Hispanic environmentalists or white women under age 30, you have to oversample them too.</p> <p>Ordinary polls don't normally do this, though they do sometimes. For example, suppose everyone is obsessed with blue-collar white men and their alleged anger at the political system. A polling firm might want to oversample them in order to report how they really feel. That wouldn't affect the overall poll, though. It would be released as a separate survey on a matter of current interest.</p> <p>Anyway, this is all obvious and simple, which explains my tweet above. But hell, what do I know? Do the yahoos peddling this stuff know it's nonsense but only care about ginning up an army of easily-duped malcontents on November 9? Or are they genuinely ignorant? Who knows? But naturally Donald Trump is all over it:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Major story that the Dems are making up phony polls in order to suppress the the Trump . We are going to WIN!</p> &mdash; Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="">October 24, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></blockquote> </blockquote> <p>Jesus, this election is dispiriting. I'm beginning to think the whole thing is a spectacularly successful plot by the pharma industry to boost sales of anti-anxiety drugs and prescription blood pressure meds.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 24 Oct 2016 16:58:48 +0000 Kevin Drum 317301 at Customers Abandoned Amazon in Droves When They Had to Pay Sales Tax <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Adam Ozimek posted an item yesterday making the case that Donald Trump is wrong about something. Shocking, I know. But in the process he points to an interesting paper from a couple of years ago about the effect of sales taxes on Amazon purchases. A trio of researchers compared purchases from Amazon in five states both before and after Amazon started <a href="" target="_blank">collecting sales taxes there:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>They found that brick and mortar retailers saw a 2% increase in sales, and a decline of 9.5% for Amazon. This is hardly enough to save brick and mortar stores or stop Amazon.</p> </blockquote> <p>True enough. The move to online retail is bigger than Amazon, and it's unlikely that anything would have stopped it or even slowed it down substantially. Still, <a href="" target="_blank">here's the data from the paper:</a></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_amazon_sales_tax_effect.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 15px 45px;"></p> <p>These are...big effects. For costly items, the paper concluded that Californians reduced their Amazon purchases by a third. Even in low-tax Virginia, households reduced their Amazon habit by 11 percent. For all items, households reduced their Amazon purchases by 9.5 percent overall, but by 15 percent in California and 11 percent in Texas.</p> <p>This coincided with an increase of "only" 2 percent at brick-and-mortar stores, but that's to be expected. As big as Amazon is, it's still a small fraction of the size of the entire retail market. A decline of 9.5 percent in Amazon sales spread among all brick-and-mortar retailers adds up to a small number.</p> <p>Obviously this hasn't put Amazon out of business. But I think that misses the point. I wonder what effect it would have had on Amazon's growth ten or fifteen years ago? If sales tax has this much effect even now, when Amazon is practically a habit for millions of consumers, what effect would it have had back when Amazon was still relatively new in the non-book space? Bigger, I assume. And what effect would that have had on Amazon's growth? Substantial, I think.</p> <p>One study doesn't prove anything, but this one sure suggests that an awful lot of Amazon's initial stratrospheric growth was due to <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Quill v. North Dakota</em>.</a> Maybe Jeff Bezos should send a thank you note to the Supreme Court.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 24 Oct 2016 15:49:47 +0000 Kevin Drum 317291 at Holiday Hiring Is Early and Strong This Year <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_holiday_hiring.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Here's some good news on the <a href="" target="_blank">employment front:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Retailers geared up to hire holiday-season workers in August this year, an unusually early start showing how competition has intensified for temporary help in a tight labor market....Companies and analysts say a number of trends are converging. The holiday-shopping season is starting before Halloween for many consumers, rather than the traditional day after Thanksgiving. There are fewer workers available, due to unemployment holding around 5% for the past year. And retailers are competing for the same employees as logistics firms, distribution centers and restaurants during the final months of the year.</p> </blockquote> <p>This story is accompanied by a chart that inexplicably shows that seasonal hiring was strong in 2014, weaker in 2015, and then stronger still in 2016. Really? I don't recall 2015 being weaker than both 2014 and 2016. So take this all with a grain of salt.</p> <p>Still, it's yet another data point that the labor market is truly starting to tighten up this year. It still has a ways to go, but we're making progress.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 24 Oct 2016 14:56:31 +0000 Kevin Drum 317281 at McCabegate Is the Latest Scandal That Will Totally Destroy Hillary Clinton <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_wsj_clinton_ally_fbi.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Today in the category of&hellip;oh, forget it. I don't have the heart for snark. It's just so goddamn tiresome. The <em>Wall Street Journal</em> headline on the right describes the latest pseudoscandal in Hillaryland, and it's obviously intended to make you think there's yet more fishiness in the Clinton family. In a nutshell, <a href="" target="_blank">here's the story:</a></p> <ul><li>In early 2015, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe recruited Dr. Jill McCabe to run for a state Senate seat.</li> <li>Various organizations under McAuliffe's control donated lots of money to her campaign.</li> <li>She lost.</li> <li>Several months later, McCabe's husband was promoted to deputy director of the FBI. Because of that promotion, he "helped oversee the investigation into Mrs. Clinton&rsquo;s email use." This was presumably in addition to the hundreds of other things that a deputy director has oversight responsibility for.</li> </ul><p>There's literally nothing here. Not "nothing substantial." Not "nothing that other politicians don't do." Literally nothing. There's not a single bit of this that's illegal, unethical, or even the tiniest bit wrong. It's totally above board and perfectly kosher. And even if there <em>were</em> anything wrong, McAuliffe would have needed a time machine to know it.</p> <p>Honest to God, I'm so tired of this stuff I could scream. I've been joking about it lately by appending <em>gate</em> to every dumb little nonscandal that's tossed in Hillary's direction, and I guess I'll keep doing that. But our illustrious press corps needs to pull its collective head out of its ass. If you've got real evidence of Hillary being engaged in something fishy, go to town. I won't complain. But if all you've got is a thrice-removed, physics-challenged gewgaw that proves nothing except that you know how to play Six Degrees of Hillary Clinton,<sup>1</sup> then give it a rest. It just makes you look like those monomaniacs with thousands of clippings glued to their wall and spider webs of string tying them all together.</p> <p>Just stop it.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>Here's how it works:</p> <ol><li>Make a list of the entire chain of command that had some oversight over the FBI's investigation of Hillary Clinton's email server. That's going to be at least half a dozen people.</li> <li>Make a list of all their close family and friends. Now you're up to a hundred people.</li> <li>Look for a connection between any of those people and the Clintons. Since FBI headquarters is located in Washington, DC, and the Clintons famously have thousands and thousands of friends, you will find a connection. I guarantee it.</li> <li>Write a story about it.</li> </ol><p>See how easy this is? But please don't try it at home. This is a game for trained professionals only.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 24 Oct 2016 05:26:15 +0000 Kevin Drum 317271 at Democracy Under Siege In Irvine <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_campaign_signs.jpg" style="margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">I went out to get the paper this morning and noticed that my yard sign was gone. Some Trumpkin vandalizing Hillary signs? Nope. All the other signs in my neighborhood were gone too. City council signs, school board signs, Irvine mayor signs&mdash;all gone.</p> <p>So I investigated. I went over to our sister neighborhood on the other side of the tennis courts. No signs. I don't know what that neighborhood looked like yesterday, but I'll bet there were <em>some</em> signs there.</p> <p>I went farther afield and finally found some signs. But only about half as many as there used to be. How strange. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to which signs were left standing. When I went even farther out, signs reappeared in full force. Half a mile from my house everything was normal. Out on the main drag, signs were still piled high, just as they've always been.</p> <p>What's going on? Did some local busybodies decide that colorful yard signs were polluting our beautiful all-beige neighborhood? Did my local association suddenly decide they didn't care about the First Amendment anymore? Did a yard sign neutron bomb go off? It's very mysterious.</p> <p><strong>UPDATE:</strong> Our association manager says they had nothing to do with this. Mysteriouser and mysteriouser.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sun, 23 Oct 2016 22:36:26 +0000 Kevin Drum 317266 at Trump Meltdown Continues Apace <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Only 16 days to go! So what did Hillary Clinton <a href="" target="_blank">spend the weekend doing?</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Hillary Clinton moved to press her advantage in the presidential race on Sunday, <strong>urging black voters in North Carolina to vote early</strong> as Republicans increasingly conceded that Donald J. Trump is unlikely to recover in the polls....By running up a lead well in advance of the Nov. 8 election in states like North Carolina and Florida, <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_16_days.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 20px 0px 15px 20px;">she could make it extraordinarily difficult for Mr. Trump to mount a late comeback.</p> <p>....Both Mrs. Clinton and key Republican groups have effectively pushed aside Mr. Trump since the final presidential debate on Wednesday, treating him as a defeated candidate and turning their attention to voter turnout and battling for control of Congress. An ABC News tracking poll published on Sunday showed <strong>Mr. Trump trailing Mrs. Clinton by 12 percentage points nationally and drawing just 38 percent of the vote.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>OK, that sounds like good, sound campaign strategy. How about Donald Trump? Well, he went to Gettysburg, the site of Abraham Lincoln's famous speech about living up to our highest ideals as a nation. Trump was there, supposedly, to provide a vision of his <a href="" target="_blank">first hundred days in office:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Instead, the Republican nominee used the first third of what had been promoted as a &ldquo;closing argument&rdquo; speech to <strong>nurse personal grievances,</strong> grumbling about &ldquo;the rigging of this election&rdquo; and &ldquo;the dishonest mainstream media,&rdquo; and threatening to sue the women who have come forward &mdash; an 11th woman did on Saturday &mdash; to accuse him of aggressive sexual advances.</p> <p>&ldquo;Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign &mdash; total fabrication,&rdquo; Mr. Trump said. &ldquo;The events never happened. Never. <strong>All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.</strong>&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>As always with Trump, his timing and his venue are perfect. Next up: Trump goes to Checkpoint Charlie to complain about NATO allies not paying us enough money.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sun, 23 Oct 2016 19:16:06 +0000 Kevin Drum 317261 at Pat Buchanan Defends Donald Trump <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Jay Nordlinger and I don't agree on much, but I've never held that against him. However, with 17 days left until we go to the polls, I <em>do</em> hold against him the five minutes of my life that I lost from reading Pat Buchanan's latest column. But you know what? If I have to suffer, so do you. Ladies and <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_17_days_prince_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">gentlemen, here is Buchanan's <a href="" target="_blank">latest defense of Donald Trump:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>What explains the hysteria of the establishment? In a word, fear.</p> <p>....By suggesting he might not accept the results of a &ldquo;rigged election&rdquo; Trump is committing an unpardonable sin. But this new cult, <strong>this devotion to a new holy trinity of diversity, democracy and equality, is of recent vintage and has shallow roots.</strong> For none of the three &mdash; diversity, equality, democracy &mdash; is to be found in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist Papers or the Pledge of Allegiance.</p> <p>....Some of us recall another time, when Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas wrote in &ldquo;Points of Rebellion&rdquo;: &ldquo;We must realize that today&rsquo;s Establishment is the new George III. Whether it will continue to adhere to his tactics, we do not know. If it does, the redress, honored in tradition, is also revolution.&rdquo; Baby-boomer radicals loved it, raising their fists in defiance of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew. <strong>But now that it is the populist-nationalist right that is moving beyond the niceties of liberal democracy</strong> to save the America they love, elitist enthusiasm for &ldquo;revolution&rdquo; seems more constrained.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Nordlinger comments:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Around the world, there are many, many places that lack the &ldquo;niceties of liberal democracy.&rdquo; You don&rsquo;t want to live there. You would quickly discover that the niceties are more like necessities &mdash; a rule of law necessary to live a good, decent, and free life.</p> </blockquote> <p>Is this just garden-variety Buchanan? It's been years since I've read or listened to him. He's always been a bit of a lunatic, but it seems like he's gotten even crazier in his old age.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 22 Oct 2016 16:33:52 +0000 Kevin Drum 317251 at Friday Cat Blogging - 21 October 2016 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Here is Hopper doing her best impression of a three-toed sloth. It lasted for about three seconds. Sometimes I wish she had the energy of a sloth. She is one high-maintenance cat.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hopper_2016_10_21.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 15px 0px 5px 30px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 21 Oct 2016 19:14:03 +0000 Kevin Drum 317226 at Republicans Need to Abandon Angry White Guys <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>What's going to happen to the Republican Party after November 8? I've raised the possibility that if Trump loses massively, the party establishment might get serious about marginalizing the tea party caucus in Congress instead of being held endlessly hostage to them. Most of the responses to that suggestion have been skeptical. The more likely possibility is that tea partiers will <em>increase</em> their <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_graham_hat_0.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">influence and the GOP will become even crazier and more obstructionist than ever.</p> <p>That's pretty much what <a href="" target="_blank">apostate Republican Max Boot thinks:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan may hope that after Trump&rsquo;s inevitable defeat the party will return to their brand of conservatism &mdash; in favor of free trade and American leadership abroad, cutting government spending and taxes, a balanced approach to immigration, and making deals where possible with centrist Democrats. But that&rsquo;s not a safe assumption anymore.</p> <p>....Perhaps Trump will fade away after the election and the Republican Party will return to its Reaganite roots. But...survey findings suggest a strong possibility that instead the GOP, or at least a substantial portion of it, could continue veering toward the fringe, muttering darkly about how Trump was robbed of his rightful victory. If that is the case, then the Republican Party may not survive the Trump takeover.</p> </blockquote> <p>I want to make this easy. There's basically only one thing that matters for the GOP: whether they double down on being the white men's party, or whether they take the painful but necessary steps necessary to broaden their appeal. That's it. Everything else pales in comparison.</p> <p>If they continue on their current course, the presidency is going to get further and further out of reach. Eventually they won't be able to hold on to the Senate or the House either. They've simply run out of ways to increase the white vote and suppress the non-white vote, and the demographics of America just flatly don't support a party that's increasingly loathed by women and minorities.</p> <p>Lindsey Graham's critique of four years ago is famous: "We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term." Republicans need to print this on a hat and start wearing it at all times. The Southern Strategy worked great for half a century, but nothing lasts forever. It's time to abandon it.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 21 Oct 2016 19:04:45 +0000 Kevin Drum 317221 at Trump Attacks Michelle Obama <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>I have no idea what this is about, but....</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Trump now going off on Michelle Obama</p> &mdash; Nick Riccardi (@NickRiccardi) <a href="">October 21, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></blockquote> </blockquote> <p>A few days ago I mentioned that there were a few people who had attacked Trump and avoided return fire: Michelle Obama, Mark Cuban, and Warren Buffett. I guess now we're down to just the last two.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 21 Oct 2016 18:09:58 +0000 Kevin Drum 317211 at Weekly Poll Update: Hillary Clinton Still Flying High <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><a href="" target="_blank">Sam Wang's meta-margin</a> hasn't changed much in the past week. He now has Hillary Clinton leading Trump by 4.4 percentage points:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_pec_trump_clinton_2016_10_21.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 15px 0px 15px 75px;"></p> <p>Wang's current prediction is that Clinton has a 99 percent chance of winning and will rack up 339 electoral votes. He still has the Senate tied, 50-50, but the Democratic meta-margin is up to 1.7 percent and the probability of Democratic control is 79 percent. On the House side, he has Democrats up by about 5 percent, which is not enough for them to win back control. <a href="" target="_blank">Here's Pollster:</a></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_pollster_trump_clinton_2016_10_21.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 15px 0px 15px 7px;"></p> <p>Clinton has dropped a point and is now 7.3 percentage points ahead of Trump. For what it's worth, if you look only at high-quality live phone polls, they have Clinton up by a whopping 9.5 percentage points. In the generic House polling, Pollster has Democrats ahead by 5.2 points, down a bit from last week.</p> <p>If you add to all this the fact that Clinton almost certainly has a far superior GOTV operation compared to Trump, she could win the election by anywhere from 6 to 10 points depending on what happens over the next couple of weeks. Republicans appear to have resigned themselves to this, and are now putting all their energy into downballot races. This means the Senate is likely to be very close, and the House will probably stay in Republican hands&mdash;though only by a dozen seats or so.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 21 Oct 2016 17:57:16 +0000 Kevin Drum 317206 at Politico: Donald Trump Is Doomed <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>With 18 days left in the 2016 campaign, what does <em>Politico</em> have to say about the state of the race? Let's take a look. First, they tell us that <a href="" target="_blank">Donald Trump is doomed:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>In June, POLITICO identified 11 key battleground states &mdash; totaling 146 electoral votes &mdash; that would effectively decide the presidential election in November. A new examination of polling data and strategic campaign ad buys indicates that <strong>six of those 11 are now comfortably in Hillary <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_18_days.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">Clinton&rsquo;s column</strong>....Even if Trump ran the table in the remaining battleground states &mdash; Florida, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio &mdash; <strong>he would fall short of the White House if he cannot flip another state where Clinton currently leads in the polls.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>But the WikiLeaks release of John Podesta's emails is causing Hillary Clinton <a href="" target="_blank">a few problems of her own:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Some of the left&rsquo;s most influential voices and groups are taking offense at the way they and their causes were discussed behind their backs by Clinton and some of her closest advisers in the emails, which swipe liberal heroes and causes as &ldquo;puritanical,&rdquo; &ldquo;pompous&rdquo;, &ldquo;naive&rdquo;, &ldquo;radical&rdquo; and &ldquo;dumb,&rdquo; calling some &ldquo;freaks,&rdquo; who need to &ldquo;get a life.&rdquo;</p> <p>....<strong>Liberal groups and activists are assembling opposition research-style dossiers of the most dismissive comments</strong> in the WikiLeaks emails about icons of their movement like Clinton&rsquo;s Democratic primary rival Bernie Sanders, and their stances on trade, Wall Street reform, energy and climate change. And some liberal activists are vowing to use the email fodder to oppose Clinton policy proposals or appointments deemed insufficiently progressive.</p> </blockquote> <p>The left has felt this way about Clinton since the start, so I'm not sure the email leaks really make a lot of difference. In any case, I assume they were always planning to fight for progressive appointments and causes, right? And now they're still planning to do that.</p> <p>Finally, in other campaign news, you may have heard that the "jokes" at last night's Al Smith dinner were a wee bit rough. But Cardinal Timothy Dolan says it was <a href="" target="_blank">all smiles in private:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Dolan said the three of them prayed together. &ldquo;And after the little prayer, Mr. Trump turned to Secretary Clinton and said, &lsquo;You know, you are one tough and talented woman,&rsquo;&rdquo; he recalled. &ldquo;And he said, &lsquo;This has been a good experience in this whole campaign, as tough as it&rsquo;s been,&rsquo; and she said to him, &lsquo;And Donald, whatever happens, we need to work together afterwards.&rsquo; Now I thought: This is the evening at its best.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Well, he's a man of God, so I suppose he can't be lying about this. Maybe Clinton will appoint Trump Secretary of Homeland Security after it's all over.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 21 Oct 2016 16:56:24 +0000 Kevin Drum 317201 at California Bullet Train Takes a Hit, Episode 59 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Here's the depressingly familiar latest news on <a href="" target="_blank">California's bullet train:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The California bullet train authority has told its design engineers that the future system would have shorter trains and smaller station platforms, <strong>reducing the capacity of individual trains by roughly 50%</strong> and potentially the capacity of the entire Los Angeles-to-San Francisco route.</p> <p>....The switch to shorter trains was <strong>disclosed in a Sept. 7 memo</strong> that outlined reductions in the size of future passenger platforms, based on a decision that the high-speed rail system would operate trains of only 10 cars. The previous plan was to operate a &ldquo;double&rdquo; train set, which could have up to 20 cars.</p> </blockquote> <p>I'm too lazy to look this up, but my recollection is that the original financial projections were based on trains running every 15 minutes at 90 percent capacity for 19 hours per day. This was always kind of laughable, but if they cut the size of the trains in half then there's really no controversy anymore. The financial projections have to be cut in half too. Or so you'd think. But the Rail Authority says there's no problem: from LA to San Jose, they'll just run trains every five minutes.</p> <p>This is ridiculous. If they could really do this, they would have done it from the start since it's a lot cheaper than building gigantic train stations to handle trains 1,400 feet long. So either they're guilty of gross financial negligence in the original plan, or else they're blowing smoke now. Who knows? Maybe it's both.</p> <p>One other note: I love how these massive changes in the plan get slipped into bland memos that the Rail Authority hopes no one will ever read. In this case, it took the <em>LA Times</em> six weeks to track down the decision, which was made on August 29. I wonder who tipped them off?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 21 Oct 2016 16:07:18 +0000 Kevin Drum 317191 at Is This Election Driven By Fear? <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Over at Vox, Ezra Klein talks to Molly Ball about what's driving the weirdness of this election. <a href="" target="_blank">Here's Ball:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>You have a world that feels like it&rsquo;s on fire with terrorism and conflict abroad. You still have a very high number of Americans saying the country is on the wrong track. And people are still really fearful. <strong>The level of fear in the electorate &mdash; fear of terrorism, fear of crime &mdash; is at a 15-year high.</strong> People have not been this afraid since just after 9/11. And it&rsquo;s gone up 20 points in the last year and a half.</p> </blockquote> <p>Here's a chart from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs that <a href=";utm_medium=Email&amp;utm_campaign=Council&amp;_zs=Lu0Gd1&amp;_zl=T1tG3" target="_blank">backs this up:</a></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_fear_isalamic_fundamentalism.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 15px 0px 15px 30px;"></p> <p>On the other hand, if we go back to Vox, <a href="" target="_blank">we also get this:</a></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_fear_clowns.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 15px 0px 15px 30px;"></p> <p>Fear of terrorism is a poor third to corrupt government, and can't even beat out fear of clowns. I cut off the chart at the top seven, but even if you look at the whole thing, crime doesn't make the list at all.</p> <p>So...I'm not sure that fear really explains a lot about this election. There's always something out there that makes us afraid, and God knows, Donald Trump has done his best to gin up mountains of fear this year&mdash;why else would lots of people be afraid of corrupt government, economic collapse, and gun rights infringement? But is fear in general a lot higher than in previous elections? I'm doubtful. It's sort of like the "anger" we hear about so often, but which doesn't actually seem to be any different than previous election cycles.</p> <p>Maybe some political science boffin can take a deep look at the evidence and let us know. Is fear really higher this year than in previous presidential elections?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 21 Oct 2016 15:30:55 +0000 Kevin Drum 317181 at Charts of the Day: How Hillary Clinton Beat Donald Trump <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Here are a couple of interesting data points from <a href="" target="_blank">On the left,</a> you can see where Hillary Clinton is picking up votes compared to Barack Obama in 2012. Not from blue states or swing states, which are polling about the same as they did in the last election, but in red states. She's picked up a whopping 8.4 points from folks in red states who would presumably vote Republican in normal times, but just can't stomach Donald Trump.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">On the right,</a> you can see the cumulative total winning margin in CNN's post-debate instant polls since 1992. Clinton posted the best record of any candidate ever. Alternatively, you could say that Donald Trump posted the worst record of any candidate ever. It's not clear which is the more appropriate description, but even if you think Trump's meltdowns were the decisive turning points, Clinton employed a brilliant strategy for baiting Trump into losing his shit in front of a hundred million viewers. Either way, Hillary Clinton is one of the greatest presidential debaters of recent history.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_538_clinton_swing.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 5px 22px;"><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_538_debate_winning_margin.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 5px 5px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 21 Oct 2016 00:07:27 +0000 Kevin Drum 317156 at Paul Ryan Is In Trouble, But Happier Days May Be Ahead <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_19_days.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">With 19 days until Hillary Clinton is elected president, we can now turn our attention to what happens afterward. In particular, what happens to Paul Ryan?</p> <p>Right now, things look grim for the Speaker. In last week's YouGov poll, only <a href="" target="_blank">37 percent</a> of Republicans thought he was a weak leader. Then he abandoned Donald Trump for good, and now <a href="" target="_blank">51 percent</a> say he's a weak leader. And why do they think he's so feeble? Last week, 26 percent thought he wasn't conservative enough. This week it's 25 percent. This suggests that views about Ryan are almost entirely driven by his estrangement from Trump, not by any problem with his ideology.</p> <p>Then there's a <a href="" target="_blank">new Bloomberg poll</a> suggesting that Ryan's leadership future looks bleak. Republicans say they prefer Mike Pence, Donald Trump, <em>and</em> Ted Cruz over Ryan.</p> <p>What's more, <a href="" target="_blank">as Martin Longman points out,</a> Ryan has never been supported by the tea party faction in the House, and only barely won election as Speaker in the first place. Next year, Republicans will probably have a smaller <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_bloomberg_poll_republican_leader.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">majority, which means that it will take only a dozen or so defectors to deny him reelection.</p> <p>So: the future looks grim for Paul Ryan, no? I'm not so sure. For starters, the YouGov poll doesn't impress me. In the heat of the moment, Trump supporters are turning against Ryan for abandoning their hero. But Trump is going to lose big league, and when that happens a lot of the Trump frenzy will die off. I imagine that once the fog clears, Ryan's standing with Republicans will pretty much return to normal.</p> <p>Second, the Bloomberg poll is based almost entirely on name recognition and, again, the heat of the moment. Mike Pence is not going to lead the Republican Party. Neither is Donald Trump. And Ted Cruz is still just as disliked as ever.</p> <p>In any case, none of this has much to do with whether Ryan can win reelection as Speaker. For him to lose, he either has to drop out or else the tea party caucus has to decide to vote against him. Will that happen? It might. But even tea partiers know that if they block Ryan, they'll be stuck in the same mess they were in last year: who can they agree on to replace him? There are very few plausible candidates around, and there are certainly no plausible candidates who are more conservative than Ryan. So it's hardly a slam dunk that they're going to touch off yet another party crisis by blocking him.</p> <p>My advice: Wait and see. Things are going to cool down after the election, and Ryan may come out looking better than people think. If that happens, Ryan then has to make a choice about how to govern. Will it just be the usual obstruction? Or will he team up with Republican moderates to take the party back from the hostage-happy tea partiers, and even team up with Democrats occasionally to pass a few important bills that might revive the party's fortunes?</p> <p>I'm not sure. But I wouldn't count Ryan out just yet.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 20 Oct 2016 19:28:13 +0000 Kevin Drum 317136 at It's International Lottery Time! <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><a href="" target="_blank">It's lottery time!</a></p> <blockquote> <p>This month the State Department opened a five-week window for visa applications from citizens of countries that historically have had low rates of immigration to the United States. The annual Diversity Visa lottery selects 50,000 winners who, along with their spouses and children under 21, can obtain green cards and become permanent U.S. residents.</p> <p>Last year 9.4 million people and 5 million family members from more than 200 countries sought visas under the program. <strong>Those numbers included nearly 500,000 Iranians</strong> and 432,000 spouses and children, among the most of any country, though a slight decrease from 2014. About 5,000 Iranians were selected for visas; only Cameroon and Liberia had more winners.</p> </blockquote> <p>Please please please, no one tell Donald Trump about this.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 20 Oct 2016 18:20:07 +0000 Kevin Drum 317121 at Donald Trump's Top 18 Debate Moments <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Many of you didn't watch the debate, but you still want to get a taste of it. I understand, and I'm here to help. So here are the top 17 moments of Trump from Wednesday's show.</p> <p>Note: There were several passages of Palinesque babble from Trump that were basically incomprehensible. Examples <a href="" target="_blank">here</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>. I'm not including those.</p> <h2>#18</h2> <p>I don't think we should have justices appointed that decide what they want to hear.</p> <p><em>WTF does this even mean? I think Trump was making a point about a strict interpretation of the Constitution, but it's not really clear.</em></p> <h2>#17</h2> <p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_trump_debate_las_vegas.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.</p> <p><em>Um, no. That's not how it happens, and Hillary Clinton doesn't support it.</em></p> <h2>#16</h2> <p>We have some bad hombres here, and we're going to get them out.</p> <p><em>Bad hombres! I assume t-shirts will be available soon?</em></p> <h2>#15</h2> <p>She shouldn't be allowed to run. It's crooked&nbsp;&mdash; she's&nbsp;&mdash; she's guilty of a very, very serious crime. She should not be allowed to run.</p> <p><em>She shouldn't be allowed to run? Poor Donald, getting beat by a girl.</em></p> <h2>#14</h2> <p>We're bringing [economic growth] from 1 percent up to 4 percent. And I actually think we can go higher than 4 percent. I think you can go to 5 percent or 6 percent. And if we do, you don't have to bother asking your question, because we have a tremendous machine. We will have created a tremendous economic machine once again.</p> <p><em>Well sure! Maybe 10 percent. Or 20 percent. Why the hell not?</em></p> <h2>#13</h2> <p>[Obamacare] premiums are going up 60 percent, 70 percent, 80 percent. Next year they're going to go up over 100 percent. And I'm really glad that the premiums have started&nbsp;&mdash; at least the people see what's happening,</p> <p><em>Trump stopped himself just barely before he said he was glad that premiums are rising. Apparently even he realized that it looked bad to be rooting for people's misfortunes.</em></p> <h2>#12</h2> <p>TRUMP: Look, Putin...from everything I see, has no respect for this person.</p> <p>CLINTON: Well, that's because he'd rather have a puppet as president of the United States.</p> <p>TRUMP: No puppet. No puppet.</p> <p>CLINTON: And it's pretty clear...</p> <p>TRUMP: You're the puppet!</p> <p><em>Trump is supposedly the master of insults, but he frequently resorts to this kind of lame, kindergarten stuff. Here's another one:</em></p> <h2>#11</h2> <p>CLINTON: ... unfit, and he proves it every time he talks.</p> <p>TRUMP: No, you are the one that's unfit.</p> <h2>#10</h2> <p>WALLACE: Mr. Trump, even conservative economists who have looked at your plan say that the numbers don't add up, that your idea, and you've talked about 25 million jobs created, 4 percent...</p> <p>TRUMP: Over a 10-year period.</p> <p><em>I'm including this because it's a first from Trump: he interrupted not to insult anyone, but to add a technical correction that made his plan look a little less awesome. And it was even accurate!</em></p> <p><em>Now let's move on to the lies.</em></p> <h2>#9</h2> <p>CLINTON: I find it ironic that he's raising nuclear weapons. This is a person who has been very cavalier, even casual about the use of nuclear weapons. He's...</p> <p>TRUMP: Wrong.</p> <p><em>Yes, he's been pretty cavalier about nukes. In fact, <a href="" target="_blank">he was cavalier about them with Chris Wallace,</a> the moderator of the debate. "Maybe they would in fact be better off if they defend themselves from North Korea," he said. "With nukes?" Wallace asked. "Including with nukes, yes, including with nukes," Trump said. <a href="" target="_blank">Much more here.</a></em></p> <h2>#8</h2> <p>TRUMP: Look, she's been proven to be a liar on so many different ways. This is just another lie.</p> <p>CLINTON: Well, I'm just quoting you when you were asked...</p> <p>TRUMP: There's no quote. You're not going to find a quote from me.</p> <p>CLINTON: ... about a potential nuclear competition in Asia, you said, you know, go ahead, enjoy yourselves, folks.</p> <p><em>Back in May, Trump told Wolf Blitzer that other countries should pay us more for our protection. Blitzer asked if that meant allowing Japan and South Korea to become nuclear powers. "I am prepared to....all I&rsquo;m saying is this: they have to pay. And you know what? I&rsquo;m prepared to walk....if they don&rsquo;t respect us enough to take care of us properly, then you know what&rsquo;s going to have to happen, Wolf? It&rsquo;s very simple. They&rsquo;re going to have to defend themselves." <a href="" target="_blank">More here.</a></em></p> <h2>#7</h2> <p>You ran the State Department, $6 billion was either stolen. They don't know. It's gone, $6 billion.</p> <p><em>No. The State Department's auditor found that <strong>paperwork </strong>for $6 billion in contracts was <a href="" target="_blank">either incomplete or missing.</a> That's all.</em></p> <h2>#6</h2> <p>CLINTON: He held a number of big rallies where he said that he could not possibly have done those things to those women because they were not attractive enough for them to be assaulted.</p> <p>TRUMP: I did not say that. I did not say that.</p> <p><em>Yes, he said that. Hillary Clinton pointed this out immediately: "He went on to say, 'Look at her. I don't think so.' About another woman, he said, 'That wouldn't be my first choice.' He attacked the woman reporter writing the story, called her 'disgusting,' as he has called a number of women during this campaign."</em></p> <h2>#5</h2> <p>CLINTON: Well, you know, once again, Donald is implying that he didn't support the invasion of Iraq. I said it was a mistake. I've said that years ago. He has consistently denied what is...</p> <p>TRUMP: Wrong.</p> <p>CLINTON: ... a very clear fact that...</p> <p>TRUMP: Wrong.</p> <p><em>Clinton is right. You just have to Google it. Several months before the invasion, <a href="" target="_blank">Howard Stern asked him if he supported the invasion of Iraq:</a> "Yeah, I guess so; I wish the first time it was done correctly."</em></p> <h2>#4</h2> <p>About three months ago, I started reading that they want to get the leaders and they're going to attack Mosul....And the only reason they did it is because she's running for the office of president and they want to look tough. They want to look good.</p> <p><em>This didn't get a lot of attention last night, but Trump is saying here that Obama and the US Army are assisting in a major military engagement solely to make Hillary Clinton look good. At this point it's hardly surprising to hear Trump say something like this, but that's only because our collective bar for outrage has been lowered to gutter level by now. In normal times, this would have been a major bit of news and pundits everywhere would be gabbing about it.</em></p> <h2>#3</h2> <p>TRUMP: She has no idea whether it's Russia, China, or anybody else.</p> <p>CLINTON: I am not quoting myself.</p> <p>TRUMP: She has no idea.</p> <p>CLINTON: I am quoting 17...</p> <p>TRUMP: Hillary, you have no idea.</p> <p>CLINTON: ... 17 intelligence&nbsp;&mdash; do you doubt 17 military and civilian...</p> <p>TRUMP: And our country has no idea.</p> <p>CLINTON: ... agencies.</p> <p>TRUMP (in a heavily sarcastic tone): Yeah, I doubt it. I doubt it.</p> <p><em>This is Trump rather astonishingly suggesting that our intelligence agencies have no idea who's behind the recent of hack of Democratic emails. He's been briefed on this, but he nonetheless refuses to acknowledge that Russia is most likely the culprit.</em></p> <h2>#2</h2> <p>CLINTON: Well, Chris, I am on record as saying that we need to put more money into the Social Security Trust Fund. That's part of my commitment to raise taxes on the wealthy. My Social Security payroll contribution will go up, as will Donald's,<strong> assuming he can't figure out how to get out of it.</strong> But what we want to do is to replenish the Social Security Trust Fund...</p> <p>TRUMP: Such a nasty woman.</p> <p><em>This was obvious bait from Clinton, and Trump dived headfirst into the trap. It was an entirely gratuitous interruption, and it's resonated very, very badly. It has now been co-opted by women, and I'm sure you can already buy t-shirts with "Nasty Woman" logos on them.</em></p> <h2>#1</h2> <p>WALLACE: Your running mate, Governor Pence, pledged on Sunday that he and you&nbsp;&mdash; his words&nbsp;&mdash; "will absolutely accept the result of this election."...Do you make the same commitment that you will absolutely&nbsp;&mdash; sir, that you will absolutely accept the result of this election?</p> <p>TRUMP: I will look at it at the time. I'm not looking at anything now. I'll look at it at the time.</p> <p>....WALLACE: But, sir, there is a tradition in this country...that the loser concedes to the winner and that the country comes together in part for the good of the country. Are you saying you're not prepared now to commit to that principle?</p> <p>TRUMP: What I'm saying is that I will tell you at the time. I'll keep you in suspense. OK?</p> <p><em>This was the single biggest takeaway from the debate, and it drove most of the headlines. And it was a total own goal. Trump could easily have waffled slightly and made the same point: "I'll accept the results unless there's serious evidence of vote fraud." Something like that would have been OK, but he declined to hedge even slightly.</em></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 20 Oct 2016 17:55:58 +0000 Kevin Drum 317101 at Questiongate Will Doom Hillary Clinton's Campaign <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Here is Donald Trump this morning:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Why didn't Hillary Clinton announce that she was inappropriately given the debate questions - she secretly used them! Crooked Hillary.</p> &mdash; Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="">October 20, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></blockquote> </blockquote> <p>Whoa! How did that happen? Allow unskewing nutball Bill Mitchell to explain:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Look at the angle of Hillary's gaze. She is NOT looking down at her notes, she is looking AT the lit panel. <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) <a href="">October 20, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">During the debate, Hillary was constantly reading "something," yet you can see almost nothing written in her notes. WHAT was she reading? <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) <a href="">October 20, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Watch Hillary reading her teleprompter here folks. I mean, my God, it is OBVIOUS. <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) <a href="">October 20, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Every time, as Hillary prepares to answer, she looks down at a 45 degree angle and reads "something". Not her notes.</p> &mdash; Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) <a href="">October 20, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Where is Trump's light? <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) <a href="">October 20, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Hillary was reading throughout the debate.<br> Her notes were almost blank.<br> WHAT was she reading? <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) <a href="">October 20, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script></blockquote> </blockquote> <p>Bill Mitchell is this year's breakout Twitter star, and I am reliably informed that he is a real person who holds the views he expresses in his hundreds of tweets per day, not a parody account. <a href="" target="_blank">You can read a profile of him here.</a> Truly we live in miraculous times.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 20 Oct 2016 15:49:55 +0000 Kevin Drum 317081 at Hillary Clinton Wins 52-39 Percent, Sweeps Debates 3-0 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_clinton_trump_debate_winner_2016_10_19.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">I figured the polling on this debate would be closer than before, but still give Hillary Clinton the win. I was sort of right. It <em>was</em> closer than the other two, but she still won by 13 points.<sup>1</sup> That's a fairly impressive blowout.</p> <p>The CNN folks seemed to think that Trump's late-debate dig at Clinton&mdash;"Such a nasty woman"&mdash;was what ultimately sunk him. I dunno. Maybe. There were plenty of other things that sunk him too, though, and just generally most Americans don't want a president who's ignorant, mendacious, mean, misogynistic, and unable to control his temper. I think that explains most of it.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>As you may recall, she won the first debate by 35 points, 62-27, and the second debate by 23 points, 57-34.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 20 Oct 2016 03:58:54 +0000 Kevin Drum 317071 at We're Live Blogging the Final Debate of the 2016 Presidential Election <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>By normal standards, Trump was once again frenzied and hostile tonight. However, by <em>Trump</em> standards, he was surprisingly subdued. He had his moments, but not nearly as many as usual, and for most of the debate he managed to keep a level tone. I was joking about the Valium below, but I dunno. Maybe he really did get himself tranked before the debate.</p> <p>I'm going to guess that the instant polls will show this one close to a draw. Maybe Clinton will come out a bit ahead. Basically, they both repeated the same attacks as they did in the first two debates, and they've lost some of their zest at this point. At about the 20-minute mark, Clinton started trying to bait Trump into melting down, but he generally resisted the temptation. Every time he started to get a little animated, it was like something blinked in his brain and he dialed himself back. He would have been more dangerous if he could have (a) dialed himself back even more, and (b) done this from the start.</p> <p>Trump claimed, once again, that all the groping accusations are "pure fiction." He never met any of those women. I guess that includes the <em>People</em> reporter, who he pretty clearly met many times. He also lied when he denied <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_trump_clinton_debate_2016_10_19_1.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">saying that he was OK with Japan having nuclear weapons. He lied again when he claimed, as usual, that he opposed the Iraq War.</p> <p>In the news department, Trump was very clear that no, he would not necessarily accept the results of the election. "I will look at it at the time.," he said. There's just too much election fraud for him to commit to anything. This was by far the biggest actual news of the debate. On the other side of the aisle, Clinton said the Senate should confirm President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court. Has she said that before? Maybe so, but I don't recall it. In any case, it was a very specific endorsement of Merrick Garland. Does that mean she'd renominate him if she wins?</p> <p>Bottom line: by 2016 standards, this debate was a bit of a bore. It will have no effect on the election at all. However, Trump basically threatened to do&mdash;what? Well, <em>something</em>, anyway, if the election doesn't go his way. This is not a normal threat for a presidential candidate to make, but luckily I doubt the election will be close enough for him to gin anything up. I also doubt that the Republican Party will back him up.</p> <p>A complete transcript is <a href="" target="_blank">here.</a></p> <hr width="30%"><p>God in His infinite wisdom has declared that there should be ten commandments, nine forms of devotion, an eightfold path, seven deadly sins, six remembrances, five pillars of faith, four ages of man, and three presidential debates. Mere mortals can't hope to comprehend why He would do this to us. Unless He's a She and wants us all to get a good long look at Donald Trump and then get our act together. That's probably it.</p> <p>On with the show.</p> <p><strong>10:36 -</strong> And that's a wrap. A <em>real</em> wrap.</p> <p><strong>10:35 -</strong> Clinton delivers standard rah rah. Trump draws picture of America falling into an abyss.</p> <p><strong>10:34 -</strong> Wallace: We all agreed not to have closing statements, but I'm going to ask you for one anyway.</p> <p><strong>10:33 -</strong> Clinton says she will raise Social Security taxes, but won't cut benefits. She wants to expand benefits.</p> <p><strong>10:31 -</strong> Trump: I'm going to grow the economy so much that we'll have no need for entitlement reform. Now he's off on a rant on Obamacare. Trump says he's glad that premiums are going up.</p> <p><strong>10:28 -</strong> Clinton: Donald criticized President Reagan in 1987!</p> <p><strong>10:27 -</strong> Let's talk about the national debt. Why are both candidates ignoring it? Trump: I'll get GDP growth up to 4%. Hell, maybe 5% or 6%. Why not? As soon as we get rid of the political hacks, anything is possible.</p> <p><strong>10:18 -</strong> Clinton: "You are unfit." Trump: "No, <em>you're</em> the one who's unfit." Ooh! What a sick burn. If you're a first-grader, that is.</p> <p><strong>10:16 -</strong> Clinton calls out Trump for lying about his support for Iraq war. Mentions <em>Celebrity Apprentice</em> again.</p> <p><strong>10:14 -</strong> Trump now pretending he knows something about Mosul. Claims that ISIS leaders have already left because we announced attack three months ago. The whole battle is a sham to make Obama and Clinton look tough. The big winner will be Iran.</p> <p><strong>10:09 -</strong> Clinton: "This is very disturbing." Whenever Trump loses something, he claims things have been rigged.</p> <p><strong>10:08 -</strong> Trump on Clinton: "She's guilty of a very, very serious crime....She should never have been allowed to run for the presidency."</p> <p><strong>10:06 -</strong> Will Trump accept the results of the election? Trump: "I will look at it at the time."</p> <p><strong>10:05 -</strong> Trump is back on his schtick about how Hillary should have passed laws to stop him from doing all the sleazy stuff he does.</p> <p><strong>9:59 -</strong> Clinton (paraphrased): Trump is a creep. Trump: It was Clinton's campaign that incited all the violence at his rallies.</p> <p><strong>9:57 -</strong> Trump on the groping accusations: "Those stories have been largely debunked." I'm pretty sure the number that have been debunked is zero.</p> <p><strong>9:55 -</strong> Clinton: "Donald thinks belittling women makes him bigger."</p> <p><strong>9:53 -</strong> Trump says he thinks the Clinton campaign got all those women to say he groped them. "It was all fiction."</p> <p><strong>9:51 -</strong> Clinton: On the day I was in the Situation Room watching the raid on Osama bin Laden, Trump was hosting an episode of <em>Celebrity Apprentice.</em></p> <p><strong>9:42 -</strong> Trump looks smug and congratulates Chris Wallace whenever he asks Clinton a tough question.</p> <p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_trump_clinton_debate_2016_10_19_2.jpg" style="border: 1px solid #000000; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;"><strong>9:39 -</strong> Trump: "We're going to do a lot of things about college tuition." Like what? No telling, but it'll be way better than Hillary's lame tuition plan.</p> <p><strong>9:36 -</strong> Ah, excellent. The real Donald is back. He just denied saying he wouldn't mind if Japan built its own nuclear weapons, even though he's on tape saying exactly that.</p> <p><strong>9:34 -</strong> Trump interjects his first "Wrong."</p> <p><strong>9:32 -</strong> Trump: No one knows where the WikiLeaks stuff came from. Clinton: Intelligence agencies say it was Russia. Trump, sarcastically: "Yeah yeah, I get it."</p> <p><strong>9:31 -</strong> Trump starting to get a little more red-faced now.</p> <p><strong>9:29 -</strong> Are you in favor of open borders? Clinton: I was only talking about energy. And that all came from WikiLeaks anyway. Trump should denounce Russian espionage.</p> <p><strong>9:26 -</strong> Now Clinton is attacking Trump, hoping to bait him into melting down. It's bound to work eventually, isn't it? Not yet, though. Maybe he took a Valium before coming onstage?</p> <p><strong>9:25 -</strong> Clinton: Trump met with president of Mexico and didn't bring up the wall "He choked and then got into a Twitter war."</p> <p><strong>9:23 -</strong> Trump is against abortion, Clinton is pro-choice. Trump wants a wall, Clinton opposes a deportation force and favors comprehensive immigration reform.</p> <p><strong>9:16 -</strong> My, what a civil discussion so far!</p> <p><strong>9:13 -</strong> Now it's all about protecting toddlers from guns. Clinton is considerably more moderate on gun control than she was during the primaries against Bernie Sanders.</p> <p><strong>9:10 -</strong> Trump: Court needs to uphold the 2nd Amendment. Oh, and all the other amendments too.</p> <p><strong>9:06 -</strong> Clinton: We need a court that respects women's rights, LGBT rights, and opposes Citizens United. Court needs to stand up to the powerful. Senate should confirm Merrick Garland.</p> <p><strong>9:00 -</strong> Chris Wallace: No hootin' and hollerin'!</p> <p><strong>8:55 -</strong> None of the presidential candidates sent me birthday greetings today, so I don't know who I'm going to vote for now. This is a real lost opportunity for Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum 2016 Elections Thu, 20 Oct 2016 00:53:27 +0000 Kevin Drum 316876 at